U.S. Water News Online
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Several environmental groups and a
collection of individual Alaskans have sued Louisiana-Pacific
subsidiary Ketchikan Pulp Co. over alleged water-pollution
violations. Ketchikan Pulp operates a pulp mill and saw mills in
southeast Alaska, and is the dominant timber operator in Alaska's
Tongass National Forest.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Juneau, alleges that
Ketchikan Pulp repeatedly violated the Clean Water Act by discharging
more pollutants than its permit allows intosoutheast Alaska's Ward
Cove, as well as discharging pollutants from its pulp mill that are
not authorized by permits.
The pollutants, say the plaintiffs, included metals, suspended
solids, and fecal coliform. The suit, which cited water quality
violations recorded by the Alaska Department of Environmental
Conservation, was file by The Sierra Club Legal Defense fund and the
Western Environmental Law Center on behalf of six other environmental
groups as well as Ketchikan residents. The lawsuit seeks an order
barring the company from violating permitted effluent standards,
permission for the environmental groups to monitor mill discharge,
and civil penalties of $25,000 per day of violation.
Last year, Ketchikan Pulp pleaded guilty to one felony and 13
misdemeanor counts of Clean Water Act violations. But the
environmentalists who filed the most recent lawsuit said the company
has failed to make good on its promises of reform. "KPC'a promises
have never been kept," said Gershon Cohen, director of the Alaska
Clean Water Alliance, one of the plaintiff groups in this case. "It's
time for KPC to stopbreaking the law," he added.
Ketchikan holds a 50-year supply contract for Tongass timber that is scheduled to run out in the year 2004. The company is seeking congressional approval to extend the contract for 15 years after that.
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